It’s officially the NFL offseason, the champs have been crowned and now it’s time for every team to get prepared for the next season. That usually means departures and additions, today we’ll be focusing on the Baltimore Ravens.
Despite a decent year and a trip to the playoffs, even beating a rival on the road for the first time in team history, the Ravens lost to the newly crowned New England Patriots.
One of the key cogs of that stout Ravens defense is Haloti Ngata. The All-Pro defensive lineman has a salary cap hit of $16 million, a number that Baltimore let alone any team could afford. It’s in the Ravens best interest to try and restructure his deal, it’d be weird to see that front seven next year without Ngata dominating up front. Just by chance, if both sides can’t come to an agreement at least Baltimore got some insurance in last year’s draft in Timmy Jernigan.
They also have to figure out how many of their own free agents they will retain, on that list are Antoine Cason, Terrence Cody, Morgan Cox, Owen Daniels, Justin Forsett, Danny Gorrer, Lawrence Guy, Pernell McPhee, Jeromy Miles, William Rackley, Jah Reid, Aaron Ross, Darian Stewart, Torrey Smith, and Tyrod Taylor.
Out of those names listed above, who can they afford to lose least? Tyrod Taylor is one of the best contingency plans in the league, the Ravens have the luxury of having a backup that isn’t worlds away from the starter in terms of talent. They also have an interesting decision to make with deep threat Torrey Smith, while he is a very talented player and has made big plays during his time with Baltimore. It doesn’t make sense to tag him, especially when the Ravens are a good drafting team year after year. With a receiving class like this one, it wouldn’t be surprising if Baltimore retained Smith and still added a young wideout via the draft. Justin Forsett also had a career year in his first year in Baltimore, they can’t afford to let him walk either.
Baltimore will also need to address the back half of it’s defense this offseason as well. Their number one corner has an extremely high cap number this year, Lardarius Webb has a hit of $12 million. If they aren’t able to restructure and have to cut Webb, the Ravens will have just one real experienced corner in Jimmy Smith who’ll be returning from injury. They found a diamond in the rough in safety Will Hill this season, but expect Baltimore to address the secondary in the draft and possibly in free agency.
There will also be a decision at tight end, if Dennis Pitta is able to come back from injury and return to his top form, the Ravens could get away with him and a couple young guys behind him like Crockett Gilmore. If not, they might want to resign Daniels or grab one in the draft.
It’s just the start of the offseason, so Baltimore has some time to make these decisions. Each step of the offseason will give us a better indication of what direction the Ravens will go in regarding the holes on their roster.
Who do you think is a lock to stay in Baltimore, and what former Raven will be a coveted player in Free Agency?? Leave your thoughts below in the comments section.